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Michael Bishop
Posted on Monday, November 03, 2003 - 02:31 pm:   

Good article on writer's block in the most recent issue of the SFWA Bulletin, Leslie. I'd write more, but, well, I fear I may fail to express the depth of my admiration adequately.

Oh, yes, Jack McDevitt has advice for those having trouble staying on track, which is simply to set oneself the goal of writing a particular scene on a particular day -- of accomplishing that piece of business -- rather than telling oneself that a certain number of hours, or of pages, or of sentences, are required. Accomplishing a specific task is generally easier than fulfilling a certain number of units of time or pages or sentences. I've tried this approach, and it works. Usually.
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LeslieWhat
Posted on Tuesday, November 04, 2003 - 11:14 am:   

Thanks, Mike.

I proposed the article during a slump. Having a deadline is very motivating for me. I found the research I read fascinating. Now I'm all, like frontal lobes are everything.

Jack's advice is good. Breaking down tasks can be a useful technique.

P.S.-The Bulletin is available on some newsstands and can be ordered if you're not in SFWA.
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Mike
Posted on Wednesday, November 05, 2003 - 05:43 am:   

If I'm not usurping Leslie's topic here, I'd suggest that other writers stop by and set down some techniques for breaking through or sidestepping writer's block that have worked for them. I'd read these with interest, if anyone responded. And I'd suggest starting with Leslie's article in the latest Bulletin.
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LeslieWhat
Posted on Wednesday, November 05, 2003 - 08:12 am:   

Good idea, Mike. The article will be online at some point as I gave Mark Kreighbaum permission; I'll post the URL when that happens.

One of the things that perplexed me was hearing how many people had differing suggestions for what works, along with anecdotal evidence that there's more that one way to address block. In fact, there isn't a clear agreement on what consitutes "Writer's Block" and the severity and duration widely varies.

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Steve Redwood's monthly visit
Posted on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 03:12 pm:   

But surely you know writer's block is part of that simple but effective contraption that facilitates the clean removal of a writer's head after he/she has failed to deliver the goods due to writer's block. Any blockhead knows (knew) that.
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LeslieWhat
Posted on Sunday, November 09, 2003 - 12:42 am:   

Hey, Steve. Nice review of your book in TTA.

_The Bulletin_ editor Mark Kreighbaum has put my Writer's Block article in a PDF file at:

http://www.sfwa.org/bulletin/index.htp

for your reading pleasure.

Tthe magazine has published a lot of interesting stuff since Mark took over. It's worth buying on newsstands, subscribing to, or maybe even joining SFWA to get.
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red steve
Posted on Sunday, November 09, 2003 - 09:02 am:   

gosh, I feel a whole of a lot better after reading that! Next time some disgustingly bouncy creature calls me a lazy bum, I shall point out with great, and seated, dignity that it's not my fault if my front reticules are disconnected, and perhaps they wouldn't be so lippy if THEIR executives did a runner.
I rest (ahem....) my case.

All right then, I can see you're bursting to know - yep, it was an interesting article, especially the sugggestion that WB goes way beyond the mere absence of a good idea.
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Trent
Posted on Sunday, November 09, 2003 - 10:14 am:   

Thanks for this, Leslie! You're wonderful. I will print this out and keep it by my keyboard at all times!
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richard
Posted on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 05:58 am:   

fascinating stuff - and very reassuring. I usually work through blocks with a variant on the Dorothy method - by telling myself, just because it was easy to bang out three chapters last week, doesn't mean it won't be extremely difficult to get this next bit down right. I used to be a teacher and coming out of a class that hadn't gone well, you'd tell yourself much the same thing: whoever said this was supposed to be easy? sometimes it goes swimmingly, sometimes it doesn't, don't beat yourself up about it, keep going and things will get better. I'm also indebted to a friend for his "bad day" approach to things. When everything turns to shit on your keyboard, that's what you tell yourself - look, you're just having a bad day - it'll pass. And sure enough, usually, it does.
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Mike
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 06:18 am:   

Amen, but it's hard to keep that perspective when you're in the midst of that bad day. Which, I guess, is why so many decentered teens commit suicide. They can't see past the badness of the current day to the light eventually -- too far, too far -- awaiting them.

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LeslieWhat
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 08:41 am:   

Sigh. How long that bad day lasts is unpredictable.
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Mike
Posted on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 09:14 am:   

Right. But the darkness, if they go into it, lasts forever.
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mike bishop
Posted on Friday, February 06, 2004 - 05:55 am:   

This may not be the appropriate place to mention your latest piece in the SF BULLETIN -- well, why not? -- but I wanted to thank you for "Faking It" in the latest. It summarizes in quite a lovely way just what I feel like I've been doing for almost thirty years. In any event, your essays in this publication have become its highlights for me. I mean that.
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LeslieWhat
Posted on Sunday, February 08, 2004 - 11:44 am:   

Thanks, Mike. I'm honored that Mark Kreighbaum asked me to contribute. I've written for The Writer (have an article I'm turning in -- in May) but writing for professional writers is humbling.

Leslie

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